North Carolina Divorce Attorneys Serving Asheville, Hendersonville & Surrounding Areas

There are several types of divorce that are recognized in North Carolina. No matter your situation, a divorce attorney at The Van Winkle Law Firm can help. For legal representation in a divorce in North Carolina, contact The Van Winkle Law Firm and schedule a divorce consultation to determine your next step.

Absolute Divorce

North Carolina law acknowledges two grounds for absolute divorce: 1) the spouses are permanently and legally separated for one year, or 2) one spouse is diagnosed with incurable insanity. Depending on the complexity of the divorce, including whether the couple’s relationship is amicable or discordant, negotiations over the terms of absolute divorce can be handled out of court (such as through mediation) or in a trial before a judge.

A couple qualifies for absolute divorce on the grounds of separation by residing apart (not cohabitating) for 12 months. When the threshold is reached, one spouse can file a divorce complaint with the Clerk of Court. At no time can the couple move back in together before the 12 months lapse or the clock restarts. Additionally, one spouse must be a resident of the state for six months to qualify for an absolute divorce in North Carolina.

Filing for absolute divorce on the grounds of incurable insanity requires a couple to be legally separated for 3 years. Evidence to support the allegation of a spouse’s incurable insanity must also be presented in court by mental health professionals and other qualified experts.

Divorce From Bed & Board

Divorce from bed and board is a legal separation awarded to a person in a marriage who can demonstrate suffering at the hands of his or her partner. Reasons for granting this type of divorce include when a spouse abandons the family, oppresses the other spouse (including by endangering his or her life), commits adultery, or abuses drugs or alcohol in a manner that burdens the other spouse. Divorce from bed and board does not effectuate the dissolution of the marriage. The form of divorce requires no waiting period and  changes the rights that each spouse has to the other’s estate immediately.

Business & Divorce

Getting a divorce in North Carolina can seem especially confusing if you are a business owner. Without a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, your assets, even those held separately for the entire marriage, could be subject to the state’s equitable distribution laws. If you started the business before marriage, the enterprise could qualify as personal (non-community) property, which means it is exempt from equitable distribution. However, the spouse being an employee of the business could make him or her entitled to partial ownership after divorce.  Further, the active efforts of either spouse to increase the value of that business during the divorce can make that increased value marital and subject to equitable distribution. Finally, a company you started while married or in partnership with your spouse would likely be considered as a shared asset by the court. A divorce attorney from The Van Winkle Law Firm can help you protect all of the business assets you are entitled by law.

Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce ends a marriage without any need to step inside a courtroom. Each spouse has a divorce attorney present to offer guidance; but that attorney cannot represent the spouse if the spouse wants to take the matter to court. Additionally, the couple usually receives advice from financial advisers, child specialists, divorce coaches, or other professionals with relevant expertise. A set of ground rules is laid out beforehand, and then all parties involved rely on open communication and information sharing to negotiate a mutually agreeable settlement.

Divorce With Young Children

For a divorcing couple with young children, custody is a major issue. Spouses who are unable to reach an amicable agreement on child custody leave those determinations up to the court. Judges handling divorce cases involving kids follow once principle concerning custody determinations: do what is in the best interest of the children. If a parent or guardian is not awarded custody, he or she may instead be ordered to pay child support to the other spouse. One way to ensure that you receive all parental rights entitled by law is to hire a divorce lawyer with knowledge of child custody laws in North Carolina.

Doctor’s Divorce

On Average, medical doctors have a divorce rate 10 percent to 20 percent higher than the general population. Every doctor’s marriage has its own circumstances, but the long hours and high stress levels associated with employment in the medical industry can contribute to these elevated divorce rates. When it comes to a doctor’s divorce, fair asset distribution is especially consequential considering the incomes levels associated with the medical profession. Given the high number of medical offices and hospitals in Asheville, Hendersonville, and across North Carolina, the attorneys at The Van Winkle Law Firm are experienced at handling doctors’ divorce cases.

At-Fault & No-Fault Divorce

No-fault divorce is when a couple legally dissolves a marriage without attributing the reason for the split to any one spouse. The most common no-fault divorce in North Carolina is absolute divorce: although the nature of negotiations over equitable property distribution, child custody, and similar settlement issues can range from cordial to contentious, the spouses still mutually recognize that their marriage did not work out and that no one party is to blame.

Although most divorces are no-fault divorces, often behavior by a spouse is relevant to claims for alimony, post separation support and child custody.. Among the cases that justify at-fault divorce in North Carolina include when one spouse harms the other through abandonment, substance abuse, adultery, intolerable humiliation, and cruel and life-threatening treatment.

High-Asset Divorce

Equitable distribution laws ensure the fair division of assets between divorcing spouses. These laws play a role in all divorce, but the nuances of property-distribution laws are especially significant in high-asset divorce. Marital assets, or property acquired during a marriage, are mostly subject to equitable distribution. Whereas assets obtained before marriage, as well as gifts and inheritances, can be exempt. Divorce lawyers at The Van Winkle Law Firm handles numerous cases involving large estates  in North Carolina. In cases of high-asset divorce, the right attorney can help you receive not only an equal share but also your preferred assets, including shared property such as a home or business.

Military Divorce

North Carolina is home to several Army bases, as well as a large number of active-duty, reserve, and retired members of the military. When a military member serves overseas, being a far distance from home can put strain on a marriage. Couples can grow apart, and sometimes this leads to divorce. After one year of separation, a non-military spouse who has been a North Carolina resident for six months can file a divorce complaint, even without consent from the serving spouse. A military divorce can be a no-fault divorce agreed to by both parties, while other times, the spouse at home claims an at-fault divorce on the grounds of abandonment or similar issues. In some cases, non-military spouses can also receive portions of their military spouses’ combat pay, pensions, or Veterans Administration (VA) benefits.

Uncontested Divorces

An uncontested divorce is a no-fault, absolute divorce typically filed on the grounds of physical separation in which there are no contested issues. The process of filing for uncontested divorce in North Carolina varies by county but generally involves the same steps. After satisfying the eligibility requirements (one-year separation and at least six months of in-state residency), one spouse files a divorce complaint (which has been verified by a notary republic) and civil summons with the Clerk of Court. The local county sheriff or a deputy serves the documents to the other spouse, who has 30 days to file a response. A divorce hearing is then scheduled in court, after which the two parties are divorced and returned to single status. Issues of property distribution, child custody, and alimony are best decided ahead of the hearing through a separation agreement drafted under guidance by divorce attorneys.

Contested / Contentious Divorce

A contested divorce occurs when a couple dispute one or more terms of the divorce. Common causes of contested divorce in North Carolina are disagreements over asset division, child custody, and alimony. Since these matters must be addressed before a divorce judgment is entered, a contested divorce may extend longer than other types of divorce.

Not all cases of contested divorce stem from disagreements over the terms themselves. In instances where one spouse is opposed to dissolving the marriage, that spouse may be obstructionistic and dispute terms merely to stall the proceedings. If there is an impasse over property division, custody, or other matters, the court will make its own ruling.